I n n o v a t i o n         f o r   s u s t a i n a b l e    t o u r i s m             WILDLIFE TOURISM



                        FUTURE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SECTOR
                                  By Don Gartside
There are a number of important issues       adequate controls on effort and
that should be addressed for the future      capitalisation. Input and output controls
of the sector. Some of these are related     on fishing without restrictions on the       Aust Fed Travel Agents
and form part of the overall context of      number of operators have not been
                                                                                          QANTAS Airways Ltd
marine based tourism and its                 effective in preventing overexploitation
unavoidable relationship with natural        of commercial fisheries. It is important     Tourism Queensland
resource management, conservation            that licence limitation and continuing       Tourism New South Wales
and sustainability of resource usage.        effort reduction where levels are already    NSW Parks & Wildlife
                                             too high, be a part of the management
Controls on Effort                           of charter boat fishing.                     Tourism Victoria & City of Melbourne

There needs to be restriction on entry to                                                 Tourism Tasmania
the sector, to help meet fisheries           A system of limiting the number of           Canberra Tourism &
management requirements for controls         licenses for marine charter boat
                                                                                          Events Corporation
on harvest and to reduce the large           operators which provides some security
                                             of tenure and access to fish stocks,         SA Tourism Commission
fluctuations in numbers of operators.
Many charter boat operators are              where licences are freely transferable in    Griffith University
opportunistically entering the               an open market and provide for               University of Queensland
marketplace without a commitment to          continuing effort reduction as part of
                                                                                          James Cook University
the industry in relation to service and      their conditions might meet some of
safety standards during peak times and       these needs.                                 Northern Territory University
leaving as soon as the peak has              Coordination of Government Regulation
                                                                                          Southern Cross University
passed, reducing overall profitability.                                                   University of NSW
                                             The fragmented, duplicated and
                                                                                          University of Technology,
Competition between operators,               complex government regulation
overcapitalisation and excessive effort in   applying to the marine charter boat          Sydney
other sectors of the fishing industry have   fishing sector could be addressed by         Victoria University
been major factors in the decline or         adopting the proposed WA. ‘whole of          La Trobe University
collapse of fish stocks. The same            government’ approach and providing
                                                                                          University of Tasmania
factors operate in the charter boat          coordination between the main
fisheries with potential for severe          government regulatory agencies and a         University of Canberra
depletion of fish stocks unless there are    ‘one stop shop’ approach to the              University of South Australia
                                                                                          Murdoch University
photos courtesy Tourism QLD
                                                              The complete report         Edith Cowan University
                                                              FISHING TOURISM:
                                                              CHARTER BOAT                CRC for Sustainable Tourism Pty Ltd
                                                                                          ABN 53 077 407 286
                                                              FISHING is available        Griffith University PMB 50 GCMC
                                                                                          Queensland 9726 Australia
                                                              from the CRC for
                                                                                          Telephone: +61 7 5594 8172
                                                              Sustainable Tourism         Facsimile: +61 7 5594 8171

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     I n n o v a t i o n         f o r      s u s t a i n a bl e      t o u r i s m

disparate requirements of different         comprehensive listings of operators      multiplier effect benefits.
agencies. It remains to be seen             in each region, so that their services
                                                                                     Recognition of Part in Fisheries
whether any government is able to           could be identified in a single
                                                                                     Management/World Best Practice
implement such a scheme, although           publication.
it has been proposed repeatedly                                                    The marine charter boat fishing sector
                                            Funding for Management
over decades of government                                                         is part of the overall fishing industry
inquiries.                                  In each of the State and Territory     and must be recognised as part of this
                                            discussion papers, the issue of        industry, whatever its contribution to
Development of Industry                     payment for increased management tourism. This means that fish caught
Standards/Code of Conduct                   has been prominent. Proposals have should be included in overall harvest
Different standards across the              identified large expenditures for the  quotas for species along with any
industry have the potential to tarnish      cost of management, which if fully     other recreational and commercial
its reputation as a tourism service         funded by existing operators, would catches. The charter boat sector
provider. The industry needs to             involve substantial fees (estimated in clearly sees itself in this role and is
address the issue of service                various states $600 – 2000+). These aware of its fisheries responsibilities.
standards. Possible approaches              estimates do not include marketing
could include developing a charter          or promotion or existing government Elements of the sector in Australia,
of customer service/client                  charges for other services.            and particularly the Cairns game
satisfaction, adopting a system of                                                 fishing boats, are developing world
registration or accreditation for           Although there is recognition in       leading best practice in their fishing
operators to meet tourism standards         government circles of the need for     operations. Their catch and release
and developing a system of                  industry to have representatives on    techniques and support for enhancing
operating standards and                     various government                     angler awareness of the issues and
procedures.                                 foray/committees, the questions of     responsibilities is setting new
                                            how these representatives will be      standards which other sectors of the
There are other elements of charter         chosen, who they will represent and industry may find valuable. Among
boat fishing operations for which           how they will be remunerated for       their initiatives is provision of trophies
formal standards or a code of               their time remains open. There is      for anglers who catch and release
conduct could be established.               discussion of the need to establish    large game fish, which in the past
These include disposal of garbage           peak bodies at the state level and     would have been landed.
at sea, such as bait bags, wrappers         perhaps a peak (representative)
and discarded line, and treatment of        body nationally. The industry as a     Although the above points are not a
hooked fish, including duration of          whole presently lacks a structure to comprehensive listing of industry
playing, retrieval and handling once        facilitate this process or have any    issues, they serve to outline some of
alongside the boat. The image of            coherent approach to negotiations      the major challenges and opportunities
the industry as an environmentally          with government on fees and            the marine charter boat fishing sector
conscious entity may be determined          funding, although some states,         faces.
by these elements of behaviour.             particularly WA, appear to be more
                                            advanced in this respect than others.
Marketing/Tourism Promotion
                                            Role in Regional Development
Existing approaches to marketing
appear to be fragmented and                 The marine charter boat fishing
oriented to individual operations.          sector has an important role in
This is to some extent unavoidable          regional development. Because of
in an industry like the marine charter      the nature of the sector, there are
boat one. However, the industry is          often significant numbers of
likely to benefit from some                 operators in regional areas distant
coordinated approach to marketing           from the main population centres in
and promotion, either at a regional         Australia. There may be a role for
or state level, or nationally. This         government to support the regional
would have the advantage of raising         enhancement of the sector as part of
the profile of the ‘product’ for visitors   any concerted effort to develop
to a region and present them with           regional Australia. The sector
options for consideration.                  provides employment and capital
Construction of regional web sites          investment directly from its boats,
listing all of the charter boat fishing     but also can serve to attract tourists
operators in the region might assist        who will use other facilities in the
this process, as would print-based          region and create further economic

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